Celtic will face Latvian side Riga FC in the third qualifying round of the Europa League on next Thursday. The Hoops were meant to find out who they would face in the next round of the tournament on Thursday night. However, as discussed by 67HH, the game between Riga and Tre Fiori was interrupted due to a heavy rainstorm.
The game was then restarted this morning, and Riga progressed to the next round with a 1-0 win. It was important to UEFA to get the match completed as early as possible. The reason for that – the draw for the next round of the Europa League qualifiers takes place at Friday lunchtime.
It would have made things awkward if Celtic didn’t know who they would be possibly be playing in the play-off round when a second round tie hadn’t been completed.
Hoops will be strong favourites for game
Thankfully it now has, and Celtic can look forward to a trip to Riga. The Hoops will be strong favourites for the game, but Neil Lennon won’t be taking anything for granted. He will pick the strongest possible team he has for the game.
After all, he has had some indifferent results in Europe as Celtic boss. Lennon won’t want a repeat of those anytime soon.
Still, if Celtic play to the best of the team’s abilities, then the Hoops should be more than good enough to book their place in the play-off round.
Europa League hasn’t caught fans’ imaginations yet
So far the Europa League probably hasn’t captured the imagination of the Celtic support this season. That is probably due to the circumstances of losing to Ferencvaros in the Champions League qualifiers.
However, the run in last season’s Europa League should not be forgotten about. How can forget the two wins over Lazio? The win in Italy will go down as one of Celtic’s best ever in European competition.
Now that the Hoops know who they will be playing in the next round of the tournament, perhaps interest will grow in the competition.